lost data on drive?

We recently had a server die (win2k server - for reasons unknown to us). So we connected one of it's (scsi) drives to another computer. Now the new computer, when i see it in disk management, shows the drive as needing to be initialized. There is a lot of information on this drive, has it been lost? is the initialization only to set it up for use on the computer? As far as I know, when you initialize you lose all data, right? Is there another way of getting the data off of that short of taking it to data recovery?
vertgoAsked:
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huntersvcsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The experience I had was with an IDE drive.  Apparently the initialization process is generally automatic UNLESS something on the HDD is not recognized by the controller.  I looked around in EE and came across this comment regarding a SCSI drive on a RAID controller:

... DO NOT INITIALIZE THE NEW LOGICAL DRIVE OR YOUR DATA WILL BE GONE!!! ...

Your drive may not be new, but it IS new to the current system and had previously been set up on a RAID controller.  I fear that if you initialize it in this case all partitions will be deleted as though it were a NEW LOGICAL DRIVE.  And the SOFTPAQS you mentioned may be the reason for the "initialize" message itself.  I would suggest the following:

Shut computer off.
Attach a second drive to hold your backup image
Boot with a DOS disk and use Ghost to image each partition separately
Shut computer off.
Attach the second drive to another PC and use Ghost Explorer to insure the data is readable.
At this time extract your data from the image and place them on a PC you can access later.
Go back to the first PC, power up, initialize and repartition/format your drive.
Restore your data in their original positions from the extracted files.

Hope this clears it up.

Rick
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huntersvcsCommented:
I would recommend imaging the drive before you go further.  I use Ghost 9.0 Corporate Edition.  Save the image and restore it to another (unused SCSI HDD or even IDE HDD if it doesn't have programs on it).  Use only the COPY to work with initially so nothing goes wrong.  I've also had to "initialize" HDD's at times, but never lost any data.  Rule # 1 - Better to be safe than sorry.

I hope this HDD wasn't part of a RAID configuration, because many other factors come into play.  If it's only DATA STORAGE, just to be on the safe side, image a duplicate disk first, then go from there.
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vertgoAuthor Commented:
wow so you have initialized without losing data before?
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WatzmanCommented:

It sounds to me like you have the drive connected to a RAID controller, which is different from having it connected to a straight SCSI controller.  Was the drive part of a RAID array on the machine that died?  I would do NOTHING to the drive except copy the data off of it, until you either have the data recovered, or have no hope of any further data recovery.
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vertgoAuthor Commented:
It was connected to a raid controller but I'm almost certain that the guys here did not have it in an array. I remember looking at the disk management back when the server was working and seeing that they had mounted this drive as a subdirectory off another drive, and thinking that was strange.
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WatzmanConnect With a Mentor Commented:

I don't like the sounds of this.  I think I'd try to move the entire Raid controller and all drives connected to it to another computer as a single unit, providing that the controller is a PCI card and not on the motherboard.
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huntersvcsCommented:
As Watzman and I both suggested:  don't do anything with the drive until AFTER you get your data off it.  From what I've read, windows wants to access the drive by initializing it - not the hardware.  In the DOS mode you can use GHOST or some other imaging software to transfer the data onto another HDD.  However you do it, just make sure your data is safe before proceeding further.
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vertgoAuthor Commented:
Well that's all fine and good. But my arrival at this point of disk management is because i AM attempting to get my data off of it. Is there a different way to do so than connecting it to another computer and trying to read it? and once again, does initializing mean allowing merely the current computer to read it? or does it mean something akin to formatting it, ie making modifications to the MBR and creating partitions? basically, can I get my info off of this by initializing it?
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vertgoAuthor Commented:
furthermore I did try that but that raid controller was a compaq raid controller with only compaq's softpaqs providing the drivers, so it was incompatible with anything (and damned if we're buying another compaq server). So the current computer i have it connected to is also a raid controller, but i have no idea what kind of array it might have been ( but i'm still pretty sure it wasn't an array).
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vertgoAuthor Commented:
Well I ended up not initializing the drive, so I don't know which one is the correct answer. But I thought I would split points for the effort
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huntersvcsCommented:
Thanks vertgo :-)
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